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Ask yourself: How can this vendor program help my company get where it wants to be?

Empowerment is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot these days, but I really love that Motorola has decided to call upon this theme as the name of its expansive new program for folks rallying around their enterprise mobility and communications technologies. It’s called, simply, PartnerEmpower.

Think about it. What program sounds most exciting to you?

  • Microsoft Partner Network
  • Cisco Channel Partner Program
  • IBM Business Partner Program
  • HP PartnerOne

So, OK, maybe those companies aren’t in the same position as Motorola, which is reorganizing and reassembling several different programs under one umbrella program over the next 18 months. Maybe they already have your mindshare. And maybe you’ll pooh-pooh the name as just good marketing. But, personally, I love the idea that a vendor is trying to empower its partners to build their own businesses, not just its own product sales.

When I spoke with Motorola’s vice president of global channels, Janet Schijns, just before the launch, she says one of her biggest goals with the new program is to help smaller partners get just as much — or more — out of its benefits as larger partners.

So, for example, in the Motorola program you can get credit for your vertical knowledge or proven capacity to solve problems, not just for which product certifications you’ve earned or the sales volume you produce. The latter two things are important, of course, but not the be-all and end-all of what counts. Because, let’s be honest here, does your customer care how much sales volume you’ve generated (it WILL care if you’re financially stable) or does it care that you have successfully deployed a similar solution for another company in a given industry? “The customer wants more than a partner who is good at the technology,” Schijns says.

In turn, Motorola will focus on helping partners understand issues such as how to maximize coverage in a retail environment, how to price by the foot rather than by the product, and how to certify the coverage being provided either indoors or outdoors.

There are three initial tracks within the program: wireless network solutions, mobility and radio. Existing partners will be mapped in over the next year and a half; after that, they’ll have to prove themselves within the realm of the new program. Incidentally, there are roughly 25,000 partners in these programs today.

Within Motorola PartnerEmpower, there will initially be PartnerEmpower Specialist or Elite Specialist certification tracks, each with their own benefit levels. The usual precious metals designations will also factor in: Bronze, Silver, Gold and (ultimately) Platinum. Schijns says there will eventually be a Master level, which will showcase all the thing that matter to customers such real-world competency, vertical industry specialization and deep market knowledge. Motorola is redesigning its partner locator to emphasize these things.

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